You’ve probably heard me say (insert blank) is my favourite destination in the world, but guess what, New York City has always had my heart. I’ve been travelling to New York City since I’ve known myself, it’s bright lights and shiny storefronts drew me in and it’s electricity put fire in my soul. Familiarity and travel make you unappreciative of things and places and because it’s like my second home, sometimes I forget how very magical it truly is.
I spent a lot of time in and out the city because my mom lives there and I went to college in the greatest borough ever, Brooklyn. So, I know a thing or two about the city so I’m back to share some free things to do in New York City if you’re on a budget! While I typically only share five free activities, it was a task trying to narrow only five things down, so I doubled up it up to provide 10 Free Things To Do In New York City, or free-ish!
10 Free Things To Do In New York City
- Central Park – Entrance to the United States’ most visited urban park is absolutely free and overflowing with activities for just about any type of traveller. The almost 900-acre hot-spot features an amphitheatre, dazzling fountains and waterfalls, playgrounds, a zoo, a boathouse, tennis centre and the list goes on and on. If you’re a movie buff, take a walk around and try to spot where some of your favourite films were shot in the park.
- Time Square – You can’t visit the Big Apple without making a stop to one of the world’s most visited attraction. If you are looking for flashing lights, hustle and bustle, you’re at the right place; you and over 300,000+ visitors! You can find food trucks, streets vendors, store fronts, hagglers and your favourite cartoon character all in one place. If you’re looking for a ticket to catch a Broadway show, which you have to do while in NYC, visit the big red staircase TKTS to purchase reduced tickets.
- The High Line – I absolutely LOVE the High Line. While living in New York, I saw this elevated park in the sky come to life. What once was an old freight rail line track has now been transformed into a beautiful and serene paradise filled with art, foliage and fun activities. The 1.45 m walkers paradise runs from Gansevoort Street located down in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art – If you’re an art lover, you’re probably going to want to take a yellow cab to 5th Avenue and pay a visit to the largest museum in The Unites States of America. The MET is the home to over 5,000 years of art and showcases different cultures and different time periods. I wouldn’t call myself a true art lover but I was blown away while making my way throughout the different exhibitions in the museum. Clear your schedule, it will take you quite some time. Here’s the tricky part. The MET has a ‘suggested fee’. You don’t have to pay anything, but it is ‘suggested’. Pay as you wish, it’s up to you.
- Brooklyn Bridge – Take a stroll from Manhattan to the eclectic borough of Brooklyn via the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge which provides a safe passage across the East River provides scenic views of the New York skyline so don’t forget to take a camera. When you arrive in Brooklyn there are so many things to do and see; close by is the Brooklyn Bridge Park where you can enjoy the waterfront, grab a bite to eat and people watch.
- Grand Central Station – 89 E. 42nd Street at Park Avenue in Manhattan is where you can find one of the busiest transportation hubs, Grand Central Station. Some of you may be asking, “so you want me to visit a bus station”, but it’s really so much more than that. The station is an architectural beauty filled with history. It houses retail stores, lounges, restaurants and events. If you’re interested in a tour (at a cost) you can learn best-kept secrets of the station, history, movies filmed here and so much more.
- Rockefeller Center – In the heart of Midtown Manhattan is where you can find the historic Rockefeller Center. It is the home of the gargantuan Christmas tree which lives here on display during the Christmas holiday. Take a stroll in the Channel Gardens and be amazed at the colorful display of blooms, snap pics in front of the iconic Radio City Music Hall, and if you have a few dollars to spend, take a tour of NBC Studios or take a skate on the ice rink. It is free to visit, but some things will cost you.
- Empire State Building – While this is not a fully free experience, it is free to view from the street. There are so many places around the city where you can view this spectacular light show that changes due to varying events. You are free to visit the lobby and marvel at the Art Deco inspired ceiling murals but if you want you can pay and head to the open observation deck on the 85th-floor gaze at the ahhhmazing 360 view of NYC. Go a little higher to the 102nd floor for an even greater experience, sorry this is not an open deck!
- Macy’s Herald Square – It doesn’t take a lot to figure out why this quintessential retail store founded in 1961 by R.H. Macy was deemed a National Historic Landmark in Manhattan. The store takes up an entire block and boasts of 11 levels and 1.2 million square feet of retail magic. You can find any and everything in Macy’s. If you’re visiting during the holidays, you are in for a treat! The window displays and Christmas decorations are nothing short of magical. Be sure to ride the original wooden escalators which were installed in 1902.
- 9/11 Memorial – Pay homage to the nearly 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001 by visiting the 9/11 Memorial located at the site of the former World Trade Center. You can find twin waterfalls and reflecting pools surrounded by over 400 trees as well as the inscription of all of the victims of the mass terror attack. If you wish, you can also take a visit to the nearby museum, which is only free on Tuesday’s after 5 .p.m.
Have you ever visited the electric New York City? What are some of your most memorable moments? Do you have any free things to add to my list? Let me know by dropping them in the comments section below!
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!